Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shell Houston Open Preview

"But honey I'm telling you this is
the one.  I bet that's ESPN or Sports 
Illustrated on the phone right now." 
Please excuse the lack of commentary in this week's preview but it's hard not to look ahead to what could be an epic Masters.  Not to mention, I worked my ass off on Part I of the NFL Mock Draft (see below) at the expense of my family and my job so I've had to switch into "marriage counseling/temp agency" avoidance mode for the last 24 hours to get back into everyone's good graces.  (I figure I'm about halfway there which is pretty much where I spend most of my life anyway so we're back to about DEFCON 4).

I'm desperate for a winner so I may pull Keegan Bradley off of the "Reserved for the Majors" list and play him this week because I agree with Rob Bolton at PGATour.com that he's the guy.  Furthermore, he may not be a good fit at Olympic Club, Kiawah or for the British Open and I'm not ready to make him a Masters pick.*  At this point, I'm sticking with my original game plan but that could change by tomorrow's pick deadline. Just know that if you want to cast your lot with Bradley this week, you have my blessing.


The Overall Picks

Tell me what you're seeing out of
that left eye Keegan.  Is it a win?
1.  Keegan Bradley
2.  Lee Westwood
3.  Phil Mickelson
4.  Aaron Baddeley
5.  Steve Stricker

The Major players have not changed but Justin Rose is still knocking on the door and will probably bump Bradley from this list.

Reserved for the Majors

Tiger Woods
Sergio Garcia
Phil Mickelson
Matt Kuchar
Charl Schwartzel
Keegan Bradley
Rory McIlroy
Lee Westwood

Call it a gut feeling on Baddeley this week.  He's been playing very solid and consistent golf, finished 4th in Houston in 2011 and knows the course from playing it every year since 2008.  Badds also has a history of random wins and something tells me this could be his week.  The picture below didn't hurt his cause.  
The easiest way to the top of the rankings? Marry Richelle
Baddeley (right) and have her stand next to Ana Ivanovic.

The One and Done Picks

1.  Aaron Baddeley
2.  Steve Stricker
3.  Johnson Wagner
4.  Hunter Mahan
5.  John Senden

Last Week's Report Card: B+

1. Bubba Watson - T4th
2. Jim Furyk - T11th
3. Webb Simpson - T36th
4. Nick Watney - T59th
5. Ernie Els - T4th

Pretty solid week considering Tiger was exempt as a future major pick.  We occasionally wonder why Bubba Watson is not more competitive at Augusta (at least golf geeks like I do) considering he can work the ball both ways, hits it high and bombs it off the tee. Then we watch him play rounds like he did on Saturday and think "oh yeah, right."  To summarize, he shot -3 on the front without making a putt over 10 feet.  He made par on 10 and then a four-putt double on 11 with the last three putts coming from inside of 4 feet. He then made a bogey on the par 5 16th despite having 169 yards left on his second shot (he hit it into the water) but salvaged a back nine 39 when his approach shot bounced off a rock next to the pond on 18, landed on the green and he made the putt turning at least a bogey into a birdie.  If he hits and putts it like that at Augusta, he'll finish behind Ian Woosnam who comes just to get bombed at the past champions dinner and only packs enough clothes to get him through Friday.  

* The last two U.S. Opens at Olympic were won by straight hitting course managers, Lee Janzen and Scott Simpson, so Luke Donald or Steve Stricker may be a better fit there. The wind will probably howl at Kiawah and the British Open so neither really suits Bradley's high ball game.  Speaking of which, a giraffe walks into a bar and says, "hey everybody, the high balls are on me."  Thank you.  I'm here all week.  Try the veal.